All-Weather Championships stars out to shine on Good Friday

March 21st, 2016 Other

Lingfield Park is all set for a superb afternoon of racing on Good Friday, March 25, with a host of the season’s leading performers featuring among the entries for the £1.1 million All-Weather Championships Finals Day.

Among the strong entries are a large number of Fast-Track Qualifier winners, as well as international representation with horses from Ireland, France and Germany all entered.

Along with the bet365 Good Friday racecard at Wolverhampton Racecourse, which is worth £156,000, March 25 looks set to be the best day of All-Weather racing ever hosted in Great Britain.

Grendisar (pictured)(Marco Botti) has proven to be one of the stars of the 2015/2016 All-Weather Championships and he heads 13 contenders for the £200,000 Coral Easter Classic (3.45pm) on Polytrack.

The son of Invincible Spirit was third behind subsequent Group One winner Tryster and Complicit (Paul Cole) in the very valuable 10-furlong contest on Good Friday last year but has looked better than ever this season and returns to Lingfield Park on the back of a pair of impressive course and distance victories.

The six-year-old’s most recent success came in the Group Three Coral Winter Derby on February 27, when he forged clear in the closing stages to beat Maverick Wave (John Gosden) by a length and a quarter.

Coral make Grendisar a 5/4 chance to win the Coral Easter Classic ahead of dual Listed winner Battalion (5/1, William Haggas) and 6/1 chance Maverick Wave, who was successful in the Group Three Huxley Stakes at Chester in May.

Newmarket-based Botti revealed today: “Everything is going to plan with Grendisar and he is in great form. He did a piece of work this morning and it’s a case of so far, so good. The way he took his race in the Winter Derby was very pleasing and he couldn’t be better.

“I think it was a career-best run from him in the Winter Derby. We know that he has a good turn of foot but it was probably the first time that I have seen him quicken away from the other horses. Usually, he gets his head in front and thinks that he has done enough.

“He finished behind Tryster a couple of times last year and we have seen what he is capable of out in Dubai – he’s a proper Group One horse. We know that Grendisar has kept his level of form compared to last season. Horses can sometimes lose their form with age but that doesn’t seem to be the case with him

“My opinion is that Grendisar is more straightforward this season. He used to do naughty things, like not trying his best, but Adam Kirby said after the Winter Derby that he seems more genuine and is really putting everything into his races.”

Other entries for the Coral Easter Classic include the Mark Johnston-trained pair of Kempton Park Listed winner Fire Fighting (10/1) and Watersmeet (14/1), who took a Dundalk Fast-Track Qualifier on March 4, plus French raider Metropol (20/1, Pia Brandt).

Coral Easter Classic – Coral prices:

5/4 Grendisar, 5/1 Battalion, 6/1 Maverick Wave, 10/1 Fire Fighting, 14/1 Our Channel, Watersmeet, 20/1 Complicit, Metropol, Winterlude, 25/1 Man Of Harlech, Truth Or Dare, 33/1 Political Policy, 66/1 Forceful Appeal

Each way 1/5 odds 1-2-3

The £150,000 Ladbrokes All-Weather Mile Championships (3.15pm) has 15 entries, including all four Fast-Track Qualifier winners – Mister Universe (Mark Johnston), Captain Cat (Roger Charlton), who won the inaugural Ladbrokes All-Weather Mile Championships in 2014, Big Baz (William Muir) and Captain Joy (Tracey Collins).

Mindurownbusiness (Roger Varian) could only finish ninth in last year’s race but the five-year-old has been successful on three of his four starts this season, while Sovereign Debt (David Nicholls), who was beaten a neck by Grey Mirage 12 months ago, may aim to go one place better.

All four Fast-Track Qualifier scorers have also been entered in the six-furlong £150,000 Unibet All-Weather Sprint (2.10pm), which has 17 entries including 11 horses rated 100 or more.

Lancelot Du Lac (9/4 favourite with Unibet, Dean Ivory) broke the five-furlong course record at Chelmsford City when readily beating German challenger Gamgoom (12/1, Mario Hofer) in a Fast-Track Qualifier at the start of January.

Lightscameraction (14/1) captured the Unibet Three-Year-Old Sprint Championships on Good Friday last year and the Gay Kelleway-trained gelding set up a return visit with a brave success in the Unibet Hever Sprint Stakes over five furlongs at Lingfield Park on February 23.

Goken (4/1, Kevin Ryan) booked his Good Friday place with an impressive display in the Listed Unibet Golden Rose Stakes over the same course and distance in November, while Rivellino (10/1, Karl Burke) also guaranteed his spot by scoring over six furlongs at Lingfield Park in the Listed Unibet Cleves Stakes.

The 2014 Unibet All-Weather Sprint champion Alben Star (8/1, Richard Fahey) has also been entered, while Ladbrokes Mile contenders Chookie Royale (14/1, Keith Dalgleish) and Realize (10/1, Stuart Williams) could line up instead over this two-furlong shorter trip.

A total of 11 entries for the £150,000 Unibet Three-Year-Old Sprint Championships (4.15pm) over five furlongs includes Kadrizzi (6/1 with Unibet, Dean Ivory), Field Of Vision (12/1, Joe Tuite) and Gracious John (13/8 favourite, David Evans) who fought out the finish to a Fast-Track Qualifier at Chelmsford City on February 7.

Gracious John had previously scored in a Kempton Park Fast-Track Qualifier, while Kadrizzi was subsequently a close second to Wolowitz (11/4, David Barron) in another Fast-Track Qualifier at Wolverhampton on March 4.

Quatrieme Ami (8/1, Charlie McBride) also guaranteed his place by winning a Wolverhampton Fast-Track Qualifier in December, with progressive handicapper Aguerooo (6/1, Richard Hannon), who has risen from a mark of 67 to his current rating of 94, also featuring among the entries.

Cold As Ice (William Haggas), a dual Grade Two winner in South Africa, headlines 11 entries in the £150,000 Fillies’ And Mares’ Championships (1.40pm) over seven furlongs.

The four-year-old is Evens favourite with 32Red following three appearances during this season’s All-Weather Championships including an all-the-way success in Chelmsford City conditions race in December and a staying-on third behind Rivellino in the Unibet Cleves Stakes.

Her main rival looks set to be Volunteer Point (5/1, Mick Channon), who has gained three victories this season headed by a Fast-Track Qualifier victory at Chelmsford City in January.

Marco Botti is looking forward to running Alfajer, who is a 7/1 chance with 32Red. The daughter of Mount Nelson has run well in three Fast-Track Qualifiers this season, most recently when coming home a close sixth in the Listed Prix Satamixa over seven and a half furlongs at Deauville in December.

The Newmarket handler reported: “The Fillies’ and Mares’ race has been the aim with Alfajer for a while and we are going to try blinkers on her. She has always run good races, including last time out at Deauville, but I am hoping that the blinkers might sharpen her up.

“It might be a good race if Cold As Ice takes her chance but Alfajer has the speed to run well over seven furlongs. She wasn’t beaten far by Volunteer Point, who has won since, in France and I think that she should be in the frame.” Fillies’ And Mares’ Championships – 32Red prices:

Evens Cold As Ice, 5/1 Volunteer Point, 7/1 Alfajer, 8/1 Saucy Minx, 14/1 Primose Valley, Secret Hint, 16/1 Bint Daddy, 20/1 Russian Radiance, 33/1 Diamond Lady, Subtle Knife, 50/1 Skidby Mill

Each way 1/5 odds 1-2-3

Anglophile (Charlie Appleby) was beaten a short-head in last year’s £150,000 32Red All-Weather Marathon Championships (4.45pm) and the five-year-old, successful in a Lingfield Park Fast-Track Qualifier in January, features among 13 entries for this year’s race. He is a 4/1 chance with 32Red to avenge his narrow defeat of last season.

Moonrise Landing (Ralph Beckett) beat Anglophile in a Fast-Track Qualifier at Wolverhampton in December and is 11/4 favourite with 32Red, while Notarised (4/1, Mark Johnston) produced a storming display to beat John Reel (12/1, David Evans) and Pearl Castle (14/1, Karl Burke) in a Chelmsford City Fast-Track Qualifier on March 3.

32Red All-Weather Marathon Championships – 32Red prices:

11/4 Moonrise Landing, 4/1 Anglophile, Notarised, 6/1 Ballynanty, 8/1 First Mohican, 12/1 Blue Surf, John Reel, Sunblazer, 14/1 Pearl Castle, 16/1 Shalaman, 25/1 Royal Marskell, 33/1 Monaleen, 66/1 Handsome Dan

Each way 1/5 odds 1-2-3